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Big crowd turns out for Cooper Spur’s Crooked Tree Tavern opening

Guests enjoy a round or two at the recently expanded bar inside the Crooked Tree Tavern at Cooper Spur Mountain Resort on Tuesday. The tavern has six taps that primarily pour beer from local breweries.

Guests enjoy a round or two at the recently expanded bar inside the Crooked Tree Tavern at Cooper Spur Mountain Resort on Tuesday. The tavern has six taps that primarily pour beer from local breweries. Photo by Ben Mitchell

The weather may have been cold and wet, but it wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of guests who attended the grand opening of the newly completed Crooked Tree Tavern at the Cooper Spur Mountain Resort Tuesday evening.

Several dozen people braved the elements and enjoyed the celebration, which featured free beer from local brewers, food, and live music outside on the resort grounds. Attendees periodically ducked inside the Cooper Spur Inn to warm up and check out the new bar that has been installed in what once primarily served as the inn’s lobby and check-in area.

Cynthia Steele, general manager for the resort, said the decision to open up the tavern was made, in part, due to an increase this year in business at the resort which offers dining, lodging, event-holding, and various outdoor recreation opportunities.

“With our weddings increasing this year and the desire to give our guests more service, we decided to open the tavern,” Steele explained.

Previously, a small bar with only two taps served thirsty guests. A significantly larger, full-service, U-shaped bar now extends into the former lobby/check-in area, which Steele said had been relegated to a kiosk off the restaurant that is adjacent to the tavern. A glycol system keeps constant pressure on the lines that now flow to six taps instead of two, which primarily feature beer from local breweries, as well as the ubiquitous Northwest staple, Pabst Blue Ribbon. Steele said the tavern is looking to stock ciders in addition to the beer, wine, and spirits that are currently available. Two 42-inch flat-screen televisions have also been added in case patrons care to catch a Timbers or Trail Blazers game.

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Photos by Ben Mitchell.Manny Barragan mans the grill at the grand opening of the Crooked Tree Tavern on Tuesday. Guests were treated to complimentary grilled salmon, pulled pork, burgers and sides, and had their choice of beer from five local breweries to wash it all down.

Steele said the remodeling of the inn began in mid-April and wrapped up in late May. The trick was to expand the bar while staying within the building’s footprint and retaining the inn’s rustic, alpine feel — a tribute to the mountaineering pioneers who trudged from nearby Cloud Cap Inn up the north face of Mount Hood to its summit in days of yore.

“We tried to keep it as much the same as it was,” Steele said.

Indeed, the walls still smack of cedar woodworking and the stained glass window depicting a regal-looking elk still graces the front entrance of the facility. Peeled lodgepole pine barstools and chairs complete the ensemble.

Outside the Crooked Tree Tavern on the resort grounds are recently added horseshoe pits, “family friendly” mountain biking trails as well as the tavern’s namesake, a lone pine tree off the south side of the tavern that has a pronounced bend in its trunk. Steele said the name “tavern” was decided upon instead of “lounge” or “bar” because the resort offers lodging in addition to food and drink and “we wanted to encompass everything we had here.”

Though the resort certainly caters to out-of-towners, Steele noted she wants the Crooked Tree Tavern to play an important role in the community. Currently, a benefit dinner for Parkdale Elementary School is held every third Thursday at the Cooper Spur Restaurant and Steele said she “definitely wants to bring more community events up here.”

The Crooked Tree Tavern is open daily from 4-9 p.m and is open for lunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. For more information, call 541-352-6037 or visit www.cooperspur.com.

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